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Market Update: Earnings Fears, A&P Downgrade Pressuring Stocks

<LI>Investors may fear rising oil prices will hurt corporate profits.</LI><LI>Major indices in the red.</LI><LI>Retail stocks only bright spot.</LI>

Earnings worries triggered by a series of warnings after the close yesterday and a downgrade on

Great Atlantic Pacific & Tea Group


, or A&P, were pressuring stocks this morning.

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

had been leading losses on the

Dow Jones Industrial Average -- but lately was adding 13.7 points of upside to the Dow -- after rumors exploded earlier this week that Germany's

Deutsche Bank

was in talks to acquire the company. The company surged 5% on Wednesday due to the rumors. A story on Reuters suggested the company is under pressure to find a partner as its competitors get married off to other companies. J.P. Morgan was lately up 1.5% to $165.44. The Dow was 16 lower to 11,244.


Nasdaq Composite Index was down 55 to 4043.


(BVSN) - Get Report

, which was rising in preopen action on news it had entered a deal with tech leader


(IBM) - Get Report

, was the most active stock on the Nasdaq. BroadVision was lately down 2.3% to $37.06.

Wall Street is particularly worried now about slowing corporate earnings growth. The last few months of economic data have generally shown a slowing economy, and the season of earnings warning is fast approaching. Companies expecting to miss earnings estimates tend to warn right before quarterly earnings are released, or beginning in early October.

Investors may be afraid that rising crude oil prices will continue to bite into corporate profits, particularly after chemical bellwether


(DD) - Get Report

partly blamed oil costs for the profits warning it issued yesterday morning.

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"This weakness is part of the soft landing -- worries over corporate earnings. But I've never seen in my young 40 years a soft landing work," said Doug Myers, vice president of equity trading at

IJL Wachovia


The other major indices were also deep in the red, with the broad market

S&P 500 off 5.2 to 1497 and the small-cap Russell 2000 was off 3.3% to 539.5. Internet Sector

index was 18 lower to 820.1.

Sector Watch

Retail stocks were one of the only sectors getting a lift this morning after

Morgan Stanley

upgraded several clothing retailers, including

TJX Companies

(TJX) - Get Report





Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Report

. TJX was 4.4% higher, Limited was up 3.5% and Abercrombie was up 3.2%.The

S&P Retail Index

was up 1.4% to 836.

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The 10-year Treasury note has been relatively volatile this morning, lately up 4/32 at 100 3/32, and yielding 5.737. Treasuries fell for the third session in a row yesterday as investors reacted to rising oil prices and the upcoming heavy issuance of corporate bonds.

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